Molecular Biosystems and Bioinformatics

Current research lies within the field of molecular biosystems, this means research in the interface between biological chemistry, -omics technologies (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics), and systems biology/bioinformatics.

Our main focus areas:
- Marine biotechnolgy & bioprospecting
- Marine bacterial genomics
- Development of bioinformatics infrastructures and big data analyses

The core expertise of the researchers and students covers genomics/metagenomics, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics, MS-based proteomics, recombinant protein expression, and bioconversion of marine biomasses (industrial side streams). We have established a large collection of environmental samples from the Arctic (sediments, biota & sea water) as well as culture collection of more than a thousand bacterial isolates. Our researchers have previously been involved in the development of enzymes that are now on the market – DNA modifying enzymes, nucleases and proteinases. Finally, we have a long track record in academic publications as well as successful collaboration with industry.

Marine biotechnology & bioprospecting
Recent marine biotechnolgy efforts include development of a novel low-temperature expression system (PsyXpress) for production of cold-active enzymes. Using this unique expression system, our goal is to find cold-adapted enzymes with useful and unique features for the high-value market. Enzymes that are currently being characterized in the lab are derived from metagenomic DNA isolated from Arctic environmental samples. We have been involved in the development of cold-adapted enzymes that are now on the market, and a number of new enzymes are being investigated for their potential as new products. New and improved bacterial expression hosts for enzymes with extreme properties are also being sought. In the project MicroMBT we explored the potential of microbial biofilm communities to convert marine protein hydrolysates into high value compounds, and in BMFishFeed we currently aim to use microbial consortium to bring industrial side stream materials back into circulation, as feed additives for aquaculture.

Marine bacterial genomics
With the new technologies and cheaper prices genome sequencing has become an integrated part of the study of marine microorganisms, and thousands of bacterial genomes are currently available in ENA (the European Nucleotide Archive). We use a MiSeq Illumina technology platform to sequence an increasing number of bacterial genomes and environmental samples (i.e., metagenomes) for different purposes, e.g., for bioprospecting or to study mechanisms for bacterial diseases in marine animals.

Development of bioinformatics infrastructures and big data analysis
Development of algorithms, software solutions and e-infrastucture for marine genomics and metagenomics data is currently a priority area in our lab. Marine bacterial genomics and metagenomics produce a large amount of high-dimensional data resulting from sequencing, mapping and genomics analyzing. These data require pre-processing, storing, and processing. Developing efficient algorithms is thus crucial to handle these data. This also includes integrating big data solutions which have become dominant features of genomics research with all the support they give.

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Molecular Biosystems and Bioinformatics

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Mailbox 6050 Langnes, N-9037 Tromso, Norway
SIVA Innovation Center - Tromsø, Building 3. Sykehusvegen 21, 9019 Tromsø
+47 77 64 40 01
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